Not all corporate data breaches are of the spectacular variety that health insurer Anthem recently announced, involving 80 million members. But any company that offers a wellness program needs to take special precautions to ensure employee health information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. This hazard exists whether the program is managed by an outside wellness program vendor, or the company’s own staff.

The hackers who penetrated Anthem’s electronic defenses undoubtedly were seeking data that could be used for identity theft purposes, with a financial motive. But a data breach involving personal health information (PHI), even an inadvertent one resulting from sloppy procedures or inadequate systems, can have serious consequences.

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